I guess nowhere better than introductions. I am Lee Withers, Mayor of the “Great Little Town” China Grove, NC. I have lived in Rowan County all my life. I grew up in a great family.
My father, Roger, a lifelong resident of China Grove, has an amazing history of civic service. He worked in textiles, and later retired from Rowan Salisbury Schools. My mother, Becky, probably taught half of this county. She is now a “semi” retired educator, as well from RSSS. As my bio states, I have a great family. Wife Kelly, 3 talented kids, Carson, Cailynn, and Campbell….and 2 beagles to add.
Those that know me, claim that I’m “stupid local”. We shop at Food Lion, drink Cheerwine — a LOT of Cheerwine — shop downtown China Grove, Salisbury, and wherever else in Rowan I can. I’m a firm believer that if we don’t have it here, you may not really need it.
We love playing YMCA Soccer, Rowan Little League Softball, and Cal Ripkin Baseball. You can probably catch me at a South Rowan High School athletic event or a Jesse C. Carson High School play. So much to do, so little time. A friend once said, “If you were a NASCAR driver, your suit would look like a Rowan County map.”
Now for why you even started to read this. I have the honor of being your Municipalities Connector for an all things positive campaign called Your Rowan in Rowan County, NC. I will be writing about all of our cities and towns that make up Rowan County.
We have 10 cities and towns in our county; 10 different areas with their own personalities. They have unique special events, industries, buzzing downtowns, lifelong family names, etc. If you haven’t made your way around to them all, you should, and maybe after reading a few blog posts from all of the Connectors, you will find your way around and explore your Rowan County.
A Few Teasers of Blogs to Come
In my next post, to come in a few weeks, I will be sitting down with Mayor Jim Goble from Spencer, NC. If you read The Salisbury Post (you should, by the way), Spencer is on the cusp of being a strong northern anchor for this county. You can’t mention Spencer without thinking about Spencer Shops, but Spencer is so much more. The Fred and Alice Stanback Educational Forest is a place we will spend some time. How did it start? How is it funded? What are future plans? We’ll talk about the investment Spencer is making in its downtown. The town is working to redevelop the Park Plaza with the town being a major tenant. I want to know what the plans for the complex are, what will happen to the old municipal building, and how the town sees this investment bringing new private investments into the area.
The Original Southern City – East Spencer
I will be bringing y’all up to speed on a few other municipalities as well. East Spencer is alive and kicking. Mayor Barbara Mallett, her board, and staff are doing great stuff. Who knew that East Spencer was originally “Southern City?” There is some amazing history here. By the time you read this, East Spencer will have released its new events calendar, so get ready. The town, the county, and the Rowan EDC are working on a few major projects in and around town — a new Interchange off I-85, talks of new industry, and the great companies that are already there. I hope to talk to East Spencer about all of it.
What’s Growing in the Grove
And of course, I never miss an opportunity to talk about my town, China Grove. I plan to sit down with local leaders that are full steam ahead on growing the tax base of China Grove, while keeping the “Great Little Town” feel. We will review the growth of downtown, the new Southend plans, our 23 places to eat or drink, (yep, 23 and counting), and how the Events staff, with Parks and Recreation committee, are bringing it all together.
That should get us through the first month or so. There is great news to talk about all over this county. I cannot wait to get to Cleveland, Rockwell, Faith, Salisbury, Landis, Kannapolis, and Granite Quarry.
Did you know that we have two beautiful lakes to visit in Landis? A lot of locals don’t!
Please, take some time, sit back, and keep checking the YourRowan.com. Get excited about this place that we call home, Rowan County. Grab your family and friends and take them to a town near you. Pop open a Cheerwine and toast to the great news of Rowan County.
I love this place, and you will too.